Tag Archives: moral dilemma

Foraging Food For Thought

Perfectly sunny, calm, dry weather and an especially super low tide happened simultaneously today. And it was at the ideal time– midday.

Because of this, Johnny and I went to the shore with hopes high for gathering razor clams (or scana mara, as they’re known in Irish) for this evenings supper and, fingers crossed, a little extra to put in the freezer.

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There are so many moments to cherish in a day like today. Whether breathing in the cracking fresh winter air or inhaling the aroma of garlic butter wafting from our freshly foraged supper. And the pure bliss of quiet time, both alone and with Johnny, on the beach!

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My intention when sitting down to write this was to wax on about how we humans find a joy that affects all the senses in the simplest of things, things that leave one full up with contentment that’s not purely motivated by a desire for material benefit. Something that fills one up physically, emotionally and spiritually whether or not there’s anything of matter to behold afterwards. Like how I feel after a visit to the shore on a day like today even when we return with buckets empty which happens more often than not. The pleasure comes from just being there and doing that, with and without whoever else is also there.

But now I have this niggly feeling which I’d like to say I’ve not had before except there’s a tinge of memory suggesting that might not be true. Two years ago my daughter and I decided not to eat meat and we were content with our choice to not consume chemical laden, poorly treated animals. As a family, we decided to no longer eat our own well cared for poultry and goats but we decided locally sourced seafood would be an exception. Clamming and fishing have always felt like myself at home with nature but now I’m questioning whether I might instead be trying to conquer nature.

We won’t waste our harvest nor will I deny myself the pleasure of the day’s delicious memories even with this moral dilemma unassumingly seeking my attention. For now, I’ll sleep on it.

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If you’re partial to shellfish and feel tempted to track down and sample razor clams then prepare to rejoice because they’re smooth and flavour-filled when properly prepared, disappointingly hard and rubbery when overcooked. They can be used as chowder ingredients and are excellent sauteed, baked or fried.

To prepare, rinse well to clean then immerse them in boiling water until the shells are detached–takes less than a minute. Immediately rinse with cold water or plunge into an ice bath to stop them cooking further. At this point, they’re not quite cooked through– ideally still a little translucent. Next, separate the clams from the shells then individually remove and dispose of the guts.  If needed, rinse again. They can now be patted dry then bagged and frozen or they can be prepped to suit immediate use.

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